There have been questions about what sort of supplies are needed for PA school. I decided to make an article highlighting a few things that PA students may have to purchase starting in the first year of school.

PA School Supplies

Laptop – Your main tool in PA school, your laptop lets you take exams, follow lectures, review notes, look things up, or even play games during class (I kid). Our school provided us with Macbook Pros. However they later reverted that policy and let students buy whatever laptop they pleased as long as it met “minimum requirements.”

I, nonetheless, am a big fan of Macs and would definitely recommend one dedicated to just your PA studies. My first Macbook lasted me a solid 7 years and then I sold it off on eBay for about $400 once I got my hands on a newer model.

Otoscope & Fundoscope – Other than a laptop/tablet, this may be your second biggest supply purchase in PA school. We had brand representatives from Welch Allyn and Heine come in and display their wares. The program specified that they wanted medium/full-sized models and not pocket-sized models.

The rationale being that you could practice at home for your physical diagnosis examinations if you had a scope. Not to mention, the handheld one occasionally comes in handy during rotations (if the room didn’t have one… which was rare).

Stethoscope – This will be your 3rd biggest purchase for PA school.A vendor came by and by default almost everybody purchased the Littmann Cardiology IV Stethoscope. It’s hands down the best stethoscope money can buy and if you take care of yours, you’ll keep if for a long time.

Make sure you put your name on your stethoscope somehow! I can’t tell you how many times I left it around in some patient room and somebody would wind up tracking me down to return it.

Medical Scrubs – For our program we needed navy blue tops and bottoms. But your school will tell you if they want a specific color.

Patient Gown – We purchased a patient gown from the student bookstore. They would be used mainly during physical diagnosis lab and practical exams.

Blood Pressure Cuff(s) – Our school required us to get adult and pediatric-sized blood pressure cuffs. Yes, despite the fact that many patient rooms have them. Your school may not have the same requirement.

Thermometer – For ORAL temperatures…

Tuning Forks (128 Hz and 512 Hz) – Because Weber and Renne must haunt you on exams…

Genometer, Tape Measure, 6″ Ruler – Self-explanatory…

Snellen Pocket Eye Chart – To assess visual acuity…

Pen Light – So. Bright.

Reflex Hammer – To elicit reflexes…

But wait!

The truth of the matter is that your program will give you a complete list of needed supplies. And since it’s so program-specific, I would recommend holding off on buying anything for PA school until notified. That even includes a new laptop or tablet.

Once the official list comes out, see if it’s worthwhile to buy the products through your school or through third-party vendors. You may save some money by scouring Amazon before succumbing to the student bookstore.

Also keep in mind that many of the products you’re buying for school will last you a long time. You should shoot for quality products now, despite being a broke college student.

John Elkhoury
John Elkhoury

Physician Assistant – Founder

John is a current Physician Assistant. He attended The Pennsylvania State University (2014) for a double major and Salus University (2018) for his PA education. John is an avid lover of France and the French language.

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